An innovative social enterprise
Flying Fox Fabrics makes beautiful and affordable bags, purses, accessories and cushion covers through an unique cross-cultural collaboration. The project supports livelihoods for both Indigenous Australians and disadvantaged Cambodian artisans. The makers are highly skilled and create quality products. Launched in 2019 it is an extension of a micro-business created and managed for Injalak Arts from 2013 – 2019. It was originally conceived as a way of value-adding to create products from that art centre’s Aboriginal designed hand-printed fabrics. We now source quality fabrics from a range of remote community art centres plus other Australian artists, Cambodia and Africa.
How it works
- First, lengths of hand-printed, hand-dyed and sometimes hand-woven fabrics created by artists in Australia, SE Asia and Africa are sourced.
- The fabrics are taken to Cambodia and given to Flying Fox Fabric partners – fair-trade craft organisations that train and employ disabled and disadvantaged local people who make beautiful products out of them.
- The products are returned to Australia for distribution via online, pop-ups and retailers.
All items are hand-made in limited numbers in small fair-trade workshops or at home by individual artisans.
Flying Fox Fabrics has worked with hand-printed fabrics from Bula’Bula Arts, Babbarra Designs, Ikuntji Artists, Erub Arts and Palngun Wurnangat/Wadeye and more remote community art centres. We are now also playing with fabrics from Africa and SE Asia, vintage, upcycled and recycled textiles. Browse products here.
The model is based on collaboration and win-win-win
It’s good for the art centres and their members because they have a market for their fabrics therefore generating income for designers and printers.
It’s good for the Cambodian fair trade partners who employ disabled and disadvantaged artisans to make products for FFF. It generates fair livelihoods. Our partners also deliver free training.
It’s good for consumers because it makes high quality ethical and affordable products available. My favourite bit is that Indigenous Australians including the designers and printers love and use the products too.